Tuesday we were lucky enough to hear from a group of experts about the ways nonprofits can use reviews to help their organization stand out in the crowd. Overwhelmingly, what we heard from attendees is that in a crowded giving market, nonprofit leaders are in need of new and easy ways to tell their story to donors and supporters.
Among the speakers joining us were Brian Hill, Executive Director of the Oral Cancer Foundation, and Laura McCulty Stepp, Director of Development for the American Association of University Women. Both Brian and Laura spoke about the way reviews have benefitted their organizations. They also shared a few important insights for organizations thinking about asking for testimonials from their constituents:
- Don’t be afraid! In the world of Web 2.0, blogs and social media, you can’t worry too much about what people will say. Join the discussion and be open to feedback.
- Let your supporters tell your story. As a nonprofit professional it can be challenging to think of creative ways to talk about your organization. The stories of your clients, donors, and volunteers are fresh, authentic and powerful.
- Use your reviews. Using reviews in marketing materials, press releases, on your website, and in your communications can help drive support to your organization.
- Share these stories internally. First-hand accounts of how your work is making a difference can be a powerful motivator for your staff and volunteers.
- Use a GreatNonprofits badge: A review badge shows visitors to your website that you are engaging with your constituents and that you’re open and transparent.
We also received a lot of great questions from our attendees and since we didn’t have time to address them all, we’ll touch on a few in particular:
1. Where reviews can be posted, and where they will show up?
GreatNonprofits and GuideStar have partnered to display reviews on your GuideStar report. These reviews will also be visible on other GreatNonprofits’ partner sides including, Charity Navigator, Global Giving, Network for Good, and on GreatNonprofits.org. A review can be written at any of these locations, and will automatically show up on all of the sites listed above.
2. What types of nonprofits can benefit from reviews?
Reviews are an important tool for a nonprofit of any size, budget, or mission. No matter what the particulars of your organization, you have passionate supporters who want to share their stories about your work. These stories can help you with your outreach and fundraising, as well as give you important insight into how you’re doing.
3. How can I get reviews of my organization?
It’s easy. You can ask for reviews on your website, blog, in your emails to constituents, or via your social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Encourage donors to follow up their gift with a review, or include a link in your annual report! For tools and templates to help you get started, head to GreatNonprofits and claim your nonprofit by clicking the “Staff-Claim Org” button on your GreatNonprofits profile.
4. Is it too late to participate in the GuideStar-Kimbia Giveaway?
Not at all! We’ve seen organizations receive hundreds of reviews in just one day. Click here to learn more about the giveaway, and remember: even if you don’t win, you’ll still have gathered lots of powerful stories that you can use every day.
Thanks to everyone who attended the webinar and for asking such thoughtful questions. We’re looking forward to reading great reviews of lots of new nonprofits that now have the tools to harness the passion of their supporters! Keep an eye on the Trust Blog for upcoming posts from Brian and Laura about their experience with GreatNonprofits reviews. You can find the complete audio and slides from the webinar here.
The preceding is a guest blog post by Lindsay Nichols, Vice President of Marketing and Communications at America’s Charities, the leader in workplace giving and philanthropy. As a member of the organization’s senior leadership team, Lindsay guides and oversees the strategy and execution of all marketing and communications efforts with a major emphasis on strategy and tactics that support increased growth for the organization. Lindsay has been quoted in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Chronicle of Philanthropy, NonProfit Times, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Louis Public Radio, Dallas Morning News, and more.